Irish Daily Mail



EVERTON’S lack of goals in their last 13 games makes for alarming reading: 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0. This has now reached crisis point. If they don’t start scoring, they are destined to drop out of the Premier League.

Everton have only scored 17 goals all season and, remarkably, just two from open play since October — screamers from Demarai Gray and Seamus Coleman against Manchester City and Leeds respective­ly. The rest have come from corner kicks and the penalty spot. Goalscorin­g is a major issue for Everton right now. At this rate, they are on course to finish this season with 26 goals. Never before has a Premier League side survived with such a painfully low total — the lowest to date is 28 by Leeds in 1996-97 and Huddersfie­ld in 2017-18. The previous manager, Frank Lampard, tried to fix this problem in January when owner, Farhad Moshiri, promised the Everton fans a striker. They wanted Danny Ings, who instead signed for relegation rivals West Ham. It was Ings’ two goals against Nottingham Forest last weekend which took his new team out of the bottom three and plunged Everton back into it.

Sean Dyche takes Everton to Forest this weekend, desperate to find a winning formula that gets him goals and ensures survival. Wednesday’s trip to Arsenal was a free hit and they lost 4-0. Expectatio­ns tomorrow will be very different. A win for 18th-placed Everton would take them to within a point of Forest, who are currently 13th. Gambling on the fitness of Dominic Calvert-Lewin must be strongly considered. Under Dyche he has been available

only once, playing a leading role in their surprise win over Arsenal at Goodison Park. To get their star striker back on the pitch, Dyche and his staff have been looking closely at Calvert-Lewin’s lifestyle, diet, the car he drives, even the mattress he sleeps on. Short of having the 25-year-old move into his house, there is not much more Dyche can do to speed up his hamstring recovery. Since taking charge in January, Dyche has largely used the same system and starting line-up, his only change on Wednesday being to drop Conor Coady for Michael Keane at centre back. But again, Everton’s biggest problem was being toothless in front of goal. Neal Maupay was used as a lone striker against Arsenal but he cut an isolated figure. For him to be successful, he needs bodies around him. Ellis Simms was used against Liverpool but the 22-year-old looked overwhelme­d by the occasion.

Sides managed by Dyche scrap for every point. We saw that with Burnley. But it is goals that will guarantee him success. Dyche will not give a damn what the statistics say, as long as Everton score one more goal than Forest tomorrow and get the necessary points for their survival bid.

IN A ‘home’ Premier League table, Forest sit in a respectabl­e ninth position. But in an ‘away’ table, they are rock bottom. That emphasises the City Ground’s importance. If they want to steer clear of this tense relegation battle, they need to defeat their rivals on their patch. Forest have used 33 players in the Premier League this season — more than anyone else. That is hardly a surprise, given they have made 30 signings since being promoted from the Championsh­ip.

For Steve Cooper, his challenge has been to find his best XI. If you compare the side from Forest’s first game of the season against Newcastle to the team used against West Ham last weekend, they are practicall­y two different teams in system and personnel. Yet for all the money spent on signings, it is the youngster who came through their youth system that is still the best player at the club. Brennan Johnson, 21, is the jewel in their crown. He has five league goals this season and, if Forest want to stay up with any comfort, they need him getting to double figures. His club will be hoping he can add to that tally tomorrow and put considerab­le distance between Forest and Everton in the relegation zone.

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 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? Sidelined: star striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin has hardly featured this season
GETTY IMAGES Sidelined: star striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin has hardly featured this season

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